Something Else! sneak peek: Kiss, "Hell or Hallelujah" (2012)

Tracking down the audio clip previewing Kiss’ “Hello or Hallelujah,” set for release next week, wasn’t easy. But we’ve got one — for now.

The single arrives in advance of Monster, Kiss’ 20th studio project — and first in three years. Co-founding bassist/blood-spewing wildman Gene Simmons has described it as a lean, heaving-rocking album more in keeping with their original sound. He added that Monster is “like ‘Revenge’ meets ‘Destroyer’ — just guitar and drums, nothing else. No keyboards, no little boys’ choir, no strings, no nothing. Band-written; literally we’d get in and strum guitars like the old days.”

Fellow co-founding member Paul Stanley has said the project is “thunderously better” than Sonic Boom, their most recent recording. Other album tracks include “Back To The Stone Age,” “It’s A Long Way Down,” “Out Of This World,” “Shout Mercy,” “Wall Of Sound” and “Are You Ready?” — the last of which, Simmons says, is “an old song that was torn apart and re-written.”

Kiss will kick off a massive concert schedule alongside Motley Crue, simply called “The Tour,” on July 20 in Bristow, Va., with each group playing a 90-minute set. The complete list of concert venues and dates is below. The band — always at the forefront of rock marketing — has also announced a new 10-hour DVD project, a coffee table-sized commemorative book, a new comic book series, the Kiss golf course in New York and an assortment of items designed in conjunction with the Hello Kitty line.

Check out “Hell or Hallelujah,” while you can …

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Kiss and Motley Crue. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: KISS: News that Kiss is back in the studio, working toward the 2012 release of a new project called Monster, got us scurrying back to our old album collections. And not just because of those fond memories of playing air guitar with former guitarist Ace Frehley during Kiss Alive. Bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons said something interesting about the sessions: “This new record feels heavier than (2009’s) Sonic Boom. It feels like a connection between Destroyer and Revenge. Those were but two of the favorites we discussed here.

FORGOTTEN SERIES: MOTLEY CRUE – MOTLEY CRUE (1994): John Corabi, former vocalist of The Scream, brought a second guitar and a gruff, ragged edge to the vocals. It was a stark contrast to Neil’s high-pitched tones, and though I may earn the ire of many Motley Crue fans — one that lives with me, included — by saying this, Neil’s vocals can’t touch what’s on this record. Corabi’s voice also brought a rougher, heavier edge to the music. Though many Motley Crue fans dislike the album because of Neil’s absence, no one can deny that it’s the band’s heaviest and most mature record — mature, of course, being a relative term where Motley Crue is involved. Lyrically, the songs are still littered with drug references and party themes, but musically, there’s a definite growth.

FORGOTTEN SERIES: KISS – REVENGE (1992): There is one non-makeup Kiss record that certainly belongs in the conversation with the band’s best work. Released in 1992, Revenge came on the tail of two snoozers — 1987’s Crazy Nights and 1989’s Hot in the Shade — that were completely lost in the keyboard-laden, ballad-heavy 1980s radio rock sound. Revenge, though, was a different beast. There were still plenty of mindless sex and party anthems. It wouldn’t be a Kiss record without those. But there was a darker, heavier edge to the album, which was loaded with Gene Simmons’ gruffer vocals.

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Dates for 2012’s “The Tour,” featuring Kiss and Motley Crue:
Jul 20: Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
Jul 21: Virginia Beach, VA – Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach
Jul 22: Raleigh, NC – Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek
Jul 24: Atlanta, GA – Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Jul 25: Charlotte, NC – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Jul 27: West Palm Beach, FL – Cruzan Amphitheater
Jul 28: Tampa, FL – 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre
Jul 31: Pelham, AL – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
Aug 3: Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Aug 4: Dallas, TX – Gexa Energy Pavillion
Aug 7: Albuquerque, NM – Hard Rock Casino Presents The Pavilion
Aug 8: Englewood, CO – Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
Aug 10: Phoenix, AZ – Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion
Aug 11: Las Vegas, NV – Mandalay Bay Arts Center
Aug 12: Chula Vista, CA – Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
Aug 14: Irvine, CA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Aug 16: Concord, CA – Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord
Aug 18: Auburn, WA – White River Amphitheatre
Aug 19: Ridgefield, WA – Sleep Country Amphitheater
Aug 24: Grand Junction, CO – Rock Jam
Aug 26: Tulsa, OK – BOK Center (on-sale 3/30)
Aug 27: Maryland Heights, MO – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Aug 29: Minneapolis, MN – Minnesota State Fair (on-sale 3/31)
Aug 31: Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend MusicCenter
Sep 1: Noblesville, IN – Klipsch Music Center
Sep 2: Pittsburgh, PA – First Niagra Pavilion
Sep 4: Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
Sep 5: Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sep 7: Tinley Park, IL – First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Sep 8: East Troy, WI – Alpine Valley Music Theatre
Sep 11: Allegan, MI – Allegan County Fair (on-sale 5/5)
Sep 12: Cleveland, OH – Blossom Music Center
Sep 13: Toronto, ON – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Sep 15: Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Sep 16: Mansfield, MA – Comcast Center
Sep 18: Scranton, PA – Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain
Sep 19: Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
Sep 21: Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
Sep 22: Wantagh, NY – Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Sep 23: Hartford, CT – Comcast Theatre

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.